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Eating better lowers health care costs: doctor

Dr. Gerry Karr wants a pilot project to make the Okanagan-Similkameen region healthier. The doctor presented his ideas to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen last week.
February 25, 2013 - 4:27 PM

By Shannon Quesnel

An area doctor wants health and humanitarian groups to collaborate to reduce overlap and improve aid.

The Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition (OSHLC) can help government offices and non-profit agencies work together to avoid duplication and cover gaps in services. The overall goal is to bring healthy living programs to children, youth and vulnerable populations, such as seniors.

Dr. Gerry Karr updated the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board last week on the benefits of having the OSHLC become the umbrella for health and humanitarian groups.

“We're very concerned about child poverty and food security. There are many resources throughout the region working on aspects of food security but not working adequately together.”

The doctor is part of the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Society which founded the annual Healthy Living Fair. The creation of the umbrella program means “becoming more than a one-day event” he says.

“Our mission is to make this region the healthiest in B.C.,” he says by changing the norms and the culture of the communities.

“People who are facing poverty (contract) a lot more illnesses,” Karr says.

Getting children and young families to eat better can save money. Those who don't eat well can grow up into adults more prone to disease.

“When you got somebody that young, developing a serious and chronic condition that early in their life, you (will face) some serious costs to the health care system.”

The next step would be to get input from various groups and begin discussion. Karr explains this is a five-year pilot project.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at or call 250-488-3065.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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